February 21, 2013

Dog Years To Human Years

Dog lovers worldwide spend endless amounts of time and money to keep their dogs healthy. And why not? Dogs are parts of our families. They love and support us, thus we should love and support them. Dogs are not simply protectors (although many of our pups would die to save us); they are also partners. They love us like we love them, sometimes more. And that’s where the rub is because dogs do not live as long as we do. We adopt them as puppies and bond with them, and then twelve years — give or a take a few — later, we have to deal with their loss. We grieve our dogs.

And this is why so many people care about the age of their dogs in dog years to human years. If we spend any amount of time thinking about our dog’s health, then we also think about their age. Because dogs live shorter lives, that means they experience the stages of life quicker. We’ve all heard about the 7:1 dog years to human years ratio. And though that’s a great place to start, it’s not entirely accurate. WebMD Pets claims that this ratio is an oversimplified view of dog years to human years because dogs mature quicker in their first couple of years than human children do.

What’s also important to acknowledge, according to WebMD Pets, is that more than just age contributes to the lifespan of dogs. Size and breed can also contribute to how a dog ages. For instance, a small dog (20 pounds or less), a medium dog (21-50 pounds), and a large dog (50 plus pounds) all age at the same rate until age five. At age six, the dog years to human years changes. A six-year-old small dog is equal in age to a 40-year-old human; a six-year-old medium dog is a 42-year old human; a six-year-old large dog is the equivalent of a 45-year-old human. That discrepancy continues with each year. This means that larger dogs age more in their older years than do smaller dogs.

When we adopt dogs, we adopt them and love them for all their lives. We find ourselves bonding and connecting with pups so much that the concern of their dog years to human years creep in as they age. If we have a better understanding of our dog’s lifespan, we can better address any health issues that may creep in. Knowing what our dog’s age is in the equivalent human years can help us to create a more comfortable living experience for our aging canines. It can also help us to deal with the raging hormones of our teenaged puppies.

So the next time you wonder what the paralleled age is from dog years to human years, don’t just times your dog’s age by seven. Take time to really figure it out so that you can create the best relationship with your four-pawed family member.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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